With and Without 'Best Interests': the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Adults With Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 and constructing decisions


  • Alex Ruck Keene 39 Essex Chambers
  • Adrian D Ward TC Young LLP




This article compares the bases upon which actions are taken or decisions are made in relation to those considered to lack the material capacity in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (‘MCA’) and the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 (‘AWI’). Through a study of (1) the statutory provisions; and (2) the case-law decided under the two statutes, it addresses the question of whether the use of the term ‘best interests’ in the MCA and its – deliberate – absence from the AWI makes a material difference when comparing the two Acts. This question is of considerable importance when examining the compatibility of these legislative regimes in the United Kingdom with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘CRPD’).

The article is written by two practising lawyers, one a Scottish solicitor, and one an English barrister. Each has sought to cast a critical eye over the legislative framework on the other side of the border between their two jurisdictions as well as over the framework (and jurisprudence) in their own jurisdiction. Its comparative analysis is not one that has previously been attempted; it shows that both jurisdictions are on their own journeys, although not ones with quite the direction that might be anticipated from a plain reading of the respective statutes.

Author Biography

Alex Ruck Keene, 39 Essex Chambers

English Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers, Honorary Research Lecturer University of Manchester, UK and Visiting Research Fellow at the Dickson Poon School of Law, Kings College London






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